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Comment Re:everything is an offshoot of F&SF (Score 1) 252

Science fiction explicitly includes some plausible technology not in existence at the time of writing and not known by the author to be impossible; and that technology is necessary to some aspect of the plot. (Alternately, the story may take place under substantially different physical conditions [an alien planet] and those conditions are relevant to the plot.) (A rarer alternative to this posits the absence of a present technology and plays with the consequences of that absence.)

This is made clearer by considering stories set far in the future. The characters don't actually exist, but that by itself doesn't make those stories science fiction.

Fantasy has elements known to be impossible within the context of current knowledge. Magic and the power of wishing are fantasy.

So who was it who said "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic" - a SciFi author or a Fantasy author ?

Which genre is, just for one example, Dr Who - the technology central to the plot being known to be impossible within the context of current knowledge?

Comment Re:Literary Awards Use Literary Rules... (Score 1) 252

No mention of Iain M. Banks.

Did you mean Iain Banks the great writer who made the Time's list of top 50 British post-war writers ( ) or Iain _M_ Banks the SciFi writer who never got acknowledged outside of SciFi awards?

[ Yes I do know. Proves the article's point really - best way for great SciFi writers to get recognised seems to be to write "mainstream" fiction under another name... ]

Comment Re:Why did DEBIAN not consider SMF from Solaris? (Score 1) 508

My guess is because CDDL is _not_ GPL compatible - at least according to the FSF (it is the reason FSF say that ZFS on Linux is a GPL violation) - and the risk that brings.

For a distribution, it is a lot of work to shift over to a new init system and a lot of work (which hasn't happened) to maintain other init system options, or to shift back. You can't run without an init, but you can switch to a different filesystem relatively easily, hence the adverse impact with a CDDL init is higher than with ZFS.

Plus RedHat probably said "we like SMF too, we're going to write a new and better version of it" - I don't think there is any secret about systemd being inspired by SMF and launchd (Apple). Now, whether it is better, or might be better when finished, is a matter of opinion, and Pottering's opinion may differ from everyone elses...

Comment Re:You Really Want To Go Down This Road MS?? (Score 1) 491

None of those are general purpose computers.

And nor is the laptop in question, IF it is locked down to only run Windows (if not and it is just a matter of Linux driver support then do your research better next time).

Was it sold as a general purpose computer or as a Windows computer?

Comment Re:Netflix has a unique and obvious strategy. (Score 2) 193

I downloaded even a very watchable Star Trek Beyond via TPB yesterday, let Netflix beat that!

I think you just downloaded a wrongly titled Wrath of Khan, there is no way, even if TPB had a whole team of crack video editors, that they could make something watchable out of Star Trek Beyond in the time it's been available...

Comment Re:Maybe the driver believed it was enabled? (Score 1) 166

It can. Note that in an airplane, the pilot is expected to remain alert and at the controls while autopilot is engaged.

"Expected" doesn't mean "always works that way".

There are a number of aircraft accidents in recent years that occurred just after the a/p kicks out, and the pilots then lost control of a perfectly flyable aircraft. There are others where the pilot's primary response to control or attitude problems has been merely to repeatedly try and engage autopilot. There are also aircraft that have crashed due to pilots thinking autopilot (or auto-thrust or auto anything) was engaged when it wasn't. Look up "automation dependency" and "children of the magenta line".

Musk is treading a path here where aviation has already gone, and it is not without its problems. Saying "autopilot was not on at the time", when the driver says it was, does not absolve the vehicle systems, it merely changes the focus of the investigation slightly to why the driver and the vehicle are saying different things about what happened.

Comment YouTube? *facepalm* (Score 1) 63

You're supposed to feed it real life, from CCTV. Muppets.

Using CCTV you'd get real predictive behaviour technology, then add automation and the machine can do what you would have done for you, saving you the trouble of doing it so you can then do something more productive, like go and watch your old dvds so you can remember what that bloody computer was called... [yeah I know, Pree, I had to look it up - how embarrassing, I'll leave my sci-fi geek card at the door on the way out]

Comment Re:Telemetry (Score 1) 130

No, that's why he says that the upgraded engines will have it.

Also it is not just about having the margin it is about having the ability to react fast enough - the landing burns are very short and you only get one chance (and too much thrust will bounce which ain't helpful either).

Comment Re:why no upper body capture loop? (Score 1) 130

I don't know why, but I can provide some guesses:

1. any contact with a loop, or possibly just aerodynamic effects, risks messing up the engines/thruster control calculations and/or knocking the rocket over
2. loop clearance is going to have to be small if it is going to help (eg. if landing leg fails) but large to avoid (1) - maybe there is no right size
3. need to add in the effects of wave motion on loop and whatever structure is holding it up - for a start, the higher up it is the more it will move, relative to descent path, with the waves
4. a strong enough loop suspension structure may add significant weight to the barge, but more importantly moves it's CofG upwards, making it less stable and giving more roll in the waves, quite possibly negating any benefit from the loop (in terms of chance success)

But I think the big one is this: the rocket _looks_ hugely unstable on landing, and the little legs don't look wide enough, but this is deceptive. With most of the fuel gone and a lot of weight in the engines I bet the CofG of the rocket is probably much much lower than it intuitively looks. Think a long cardboard tube with a lead weight at the bottom - how much do you actually need to stabilise it to get it to stand up?

Now, wind might be a problem, but then it's at sea, if you have high winds you have big waves and you are stuffed anyway.

Last point: they only need to re-use some of the rockets to make launches a _lot_ cheaper, and they don't have much storage space left that they could have put this one in anyway :-)

Comment Re:UK gov did not get the memo (Score 1) 96

Very common for "Apps" to be nothing more than software firing up a browser control to display a website while running malware at your expense in the background.

The reason UK government is confused is because they look at this and immediately recognize it to be redundant, pointless and dumb... which while technically true is besides the point.

The reason you create an "App" on someone's device is because you then get to do things and exfiltrate all kinds of information no sane browser would dream of enabling access to by default. This was never about saving money or perusing a logical course of action. It for the most part is simply about p0wning your audience because fucking people over because you can get away with it is the way this industry rolls these days.

It isn't the govt that has missed the point, it is you. Yes, I agree, the point of an app is all about "p0wning your audience" and "fucking people over" by getting lots of data by the back door, but the government already has all that, they already p0wn you, they are fucking you over anyway.

What would an app give the government? Your location (you're using a cellphone - already got it), your call history (got it), your salary, your tax details, your medical records, your bank details, your browsing history, your porn site preferences (got it, got it, got it) etc.?

In fact all an app would do is require them to build and pay for another database to store info they already have, or can get trivially from a third party that stores it for them (very often because the govt has forced them to do so at no cost to govt).

Comment Re:No, it's the goddamned asterisks! (Score 2) 140

Why not simply have a button/control/shortcut/whatever that briefly _shows_ the masked password - that way the default is safe and you can check for shoulder surfers before you make it unsafe, but you have the ability to check the password if you are unsure about your typong.

Simple, easy, helpful, safe-by-default.

And also, already there on anything from phones to desktops (std disclaimer: your chosen OS may vary)

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